Review

Song Review: IVE – After Like

IVE - After LikeHaving vaulted to the a-list only a few months after debut, IVE have entered an early ‘imperial phase’ where anything they touch is all-but guaranteed to be a hit. This kind of instant success can lead to quick stagnation, but the group has a great track record so far. Both Eleven and Love Dive have become long-lasting hits filled with iconic moments. And now, IVE have built an entire song around one of the icons of disco. New single After Like uses an ultra-familiar sample from Gloria Gaynor’s seminal 1978 anthem I Will Survive.

I Will Survive has a history within K-pop, with a (great!) Korean version hitting big in the 90’s and becoming a staple at performance shows and end-of-year festivals ever since. So, I imagine this instrumental sample will be familiar to a lot of listeners — even if subconsciously. As expected of an iconic track, this signature flurry of strings does most of After Like’s heavy lifting. But, the producers have built an actual song around them that’s more than a simple a riff on the melodies we’re all familiar with. After Like works as both a fun pastiche and a fantastic addition to the nu-retro trend of the past few years.

Pacing is a big thing for me, and I’m pleased that After Like finds its groove immediately and builds upon it. It would have been easy for the song to stray from its core elements, but its focus results in the sense of drive that’s vital to a good dance track. When the instrumental does change, it’s in service to a brilliant pre-chorus that brings house piano into the mix for a nice variation in texture. IVE paint the entire track with an effortless cool – a little subdued, but never boring. And although the chorus is more of a punt than a home run, it blends seamlessly with the bold sample that follows.

 Hooks 8
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9

38 thoughts on “Song Review: IVE – After Like

  1. agree strongly with the rating! i fell in love with the teaser and highlight melody at first listen and couldn’t wait for the release. that being said, liz’s lack of lines and the vocal processing knocks the song down a bit for me- they sound a little weird, especially in the chorus

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  2. Love this one a lot! Especially that post-chorus driven by I Will Survive sample is brilliant. In fact, for me this song is the strongest August comeback at the moment, as the entire month has been just ultra-underwhelming, even worse than May and June. Though the only thing I can complain is the centerpiece which feels a little underdeveloped. Rating is about right.

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  3. God the teasers and previewed snippets made me so unbelievably hyped that listening to the song this morning was almost disappointing, but yeah it’s great! Ive is knocking out of the park with these first releases, its crazy. Now if only they could release anything other than another damn single album, I’d be totally sold. (Starship, I’m looking at you >:c)

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  4. It really has been a summer of disco for Kpop this year and I’m glad to see them carrying it forward. To quote another iconic, but not disco, song – Everybody dance now!

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  5. Fully on board the IVE train at this point. Love Dive is still my SOTY, but I’ve been listening to this on repeat all morning!

    (OMG though, I’m so used to music videos having these long-winded intros; I did NOT expect the song to just start like that. Felt like a jump scare when the first verse started like like four seconds in, haha)

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  6. It’s certainly catchy with strong hooks but I’m not really vibing with the song as of now since this kind of sound doesn’t appeal to me. I still favor Love Dive by a long shot but maybe this song will get better with a few more listens.

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  7. this is fantastic – i love the production, their vocals are clean and dynamic, and the sample is integrated absolutely perfectly. my only issue is the pacing, actually. i wish they gave each section a little more time to develop, as it feels to me like they’re just trying to rush through the song at points. still, ive is 3 for 3 in title tracks (and 3/3 for b-sides too), and i have to commend starship and the girls for a perfectly-executed rookie year!

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  8. I really like this, but something felt messy about the second half of the rap section towards the end. I feel like the timing was off between the adlib or the instruments and Gauel’s rap part. It sounded awkward and is my biggest pet peeve with the song. Otherwise, I really like it. The hooks are as potent as Love Dive, perhaps even more so, because I already remember the whole chorus in 2 listens while it took me longer for Love Dive.

    This will probably be 8.5/8.75 for now, but I do think the next few days will determine how I truly feel about this song.

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  9. This one’s fun!! I love the disco retro feel. The “I Will Survive” sample actually hit me in a jarringly unpleasant way on my first listen, just because I wasn’t expecting it within the context of the chord structure, but it didn’t bother me as much on a second listen when I knew what was coming, and I predict that this song will continue to grow on me, especially seeing as that was the only bit that I didn’t like on my first listen. The rest I really enjoyed! Now to go listen to “Love Dive,” because I love “Eleven” and after enjoying “After Like” as well it’s gotten bumped up on my list of K-Pop songs I really need to get around to listening to (it’s a long list).

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    • Yeah, it really jarred me the first time too for the same reason, but I oddly enough found it fine the second time round.

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  10. Hi Nick, long time fan of the blog but first time commenter.

    It’s a tough job doing justice to such a classic, and kudos to IVE for pulling it off. I only wish that they carried more of the sample’s strings/bombast into the sung chorus, which feel a bit faceless next to such iconic strings. The bridge rap is definitely one of the best ones in recent memory, but it’s brought down by the clunky post-bridge transition. Overall, it’s another hit for IVE’s impeccable singles run.

    The bigger surprise for me is the B-side, My Satisfaction is a prog pop revelation dripping with character. It’s full of suspenseful theatricality, and paints a vivid narrative. The outro climaxes in a sinister explosion that has me begging for more. I’d love to hear them explore these musical ideas further.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. See, I wanted to like this more than I do. But the vocal performance and melody underwhelm. This kind of song really needs a big, full-throated centerpiece to win me over. This is a bit too sleek and subdued for me to wholeheartedly enjoy. It’s far from bad, but it feels like a missed opportunity. Low 8s for me.

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    • My initial review maybe came off a little harsher than I’d intended, but may also have been badly informed by crap earphones in my office. I’m relistening on good headphones at home and they do make a difference.

      A little detail I didn’t get earlier is the somewhat robotic (synth?) harmonies in the chorus, which kind of addresses my initial gripe about it sounding a bit too thin, though of course I would’ve preferred a more powerful, flamboyant performance here. A group like Spica or Brown Eyed Girls or Mamamoo would’ve knocked this out of the park. That said, I also appreciate how it morphs as the song goes along, I even like the transition to the rap bridge!

      All in all, I like it a bit more than I initially thought. I think mid-to-high 8s is more like it for me now. It’s not really a 9 yet, but I haven’t totally discounted the possibility of it getting there. I still think Love Dive (which is at least a 9 for me, now that one I liked a lot) is better and suits the group more, but I’m starting to hear it.

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  12. After hearing that sample in the teasers, I was worried the song would get overwhelmed by it, but they managed to work it in a way that’s thoroughly satisfying. Loving the fireworks, sequins, and just the pure fun vibe of the song and video.

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    • Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but I believe this Kim Seung-soo is the former JYP Publishing producer with the same name, notable for Violeta/Fiesta (for me at least). The Sweetune producing team isn’t listed on the Listen Up cast, afaik.

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  13. The song is above average girl kpop. The verse melody is basic at best. Then the post chorus kicks in and it is literally another song entirely. I feel like the songwriters lean so heavily on that hook from I Will Survive and do nothing else with it except for the chord progression. I mean, if you clip out the hook sample, what is left of the song? Much less.
    Flat 8 for me.

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  14. With this, for me, Ive definitely has turned out to have the most consistent discography among the newbie girl groups. I really liked this song and I know for sure a few performances will boost this up even more! These girls really know how to pull off the subdued but stylish vibes ❤ I really liked the rapping, the atmosphere – everything! I honestly really like how Starship doesn’t hype their songs up that much and when it finally lands it just ends up being a pleasant listen like this! 😀

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  15. Best IVE single. I love how it just takes off and goes. And it’s fast!
    they got a lot in there in just 3 minutes.
    I do wish. the hook went harder, but I think it’s pretty good and IVE isn’t really a vocal heavy group. Everyone is solid but power vox are not what they do.

    It’s funny the chorus melody was very disappointing to me in the teasers but in the context and enthrall of the whole track, I think it’s solid.
    But I would rate this similarly as it’s fresh bolt of energy carried out by a group on top of their craft, going straight to the top.

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    • also ! I like how the instrumental leans towards disco and house…since I feel like disco gave birth to house it’s nice to hear modern and retro/classic elements imposed in this way. Those piano chord stabs are chefs kiss.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Really pleased by IVE so far. I’m gonna have to get into them more. I really love how the rap in this song adds to the excitement I feel like rap is usually stuck in the second verse of songs now

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  17. i love almost everything about ‘after like’ and i’m saying this because i don’t get WHY not make use of liz’s vocals for the last chorus (at least).
    i get that yujin and wonyoung can bring the attention but even leeseo are getting more lines… it makes me miss ‘eleven’.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I feel like i’m going to enjoy listening to this song in the future, but I can’t help but feel like it’s a little underwhelming coming after love dive. It really does lean on the sample to the point of it not really having it’s own novelty. I feel like novelty and uniqueness are important to kpop groups that become really successful, and ive have sort of established this style and aesthetic for themselves that doesn’t show up very much here. I was looking forward to something with the same level of theatrics as their previous comebacks, but this felt kinda safe and generic in both the song and the music video. The song on it’s own is still objectively fun though.

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  19. I’ve always thought when I first listened to Eleven and Love Dive, “OMG this site is gonna love this.” Then, After Like dropped and it’s still the same, this site is gonna eat this up. IVE never misses. I get that the song feels underwhelming to some people after the first listens because of the VERY overwhelming sample, but the girls spicing it up with a chic and subdued melody adds such a nice contrast for me. I could only wish that they let Liz belt out that second pre-chorus just to change things up. Lastly, is it just me or did Gaeul’s rap after Rei feels off? I think they should have done a different flow because it sounded a little too basic and did Gaeul dirty, especially going right after Rei lol.

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  20. Like all IVE songs, it’s a grower. I was conflicted at after just because Gaynor’s I Will Survive is so well known that it left a very unbalanced first impression. That was resolved faster than I thought, though. The vocal line in the chorus is just catchy and simple enough to stick in your head on its own, and it works perfectly for them in my opinion. Anything more complex in the vocal melody or more attack in the singing would have been too much. I like that the rest of the instrumental strays, since it recalls how the original instrumental was primarily just a jam session that was recorded. I doubt that’s intentional, but it makes it more fun for me.

    I also think they delivered on their B-side again. But now that I’ve heard some of their lower registers, particularly Wonyoung’s, I hope they utilize it more in the future. It has a completely different vibe. My only concern with IVE is still that if they were to put out an EP or album, I still honestly couldn’t tell you what it would sound like in advance other than “restrained” and “electropop,” which still leaves a huge spectrum. Somehow they have crafted a sound for themselves almost in reverse. You know it’s an IVE song when you hear it, but predicting it is another animal entirely.

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  21. Love the song, ive really never miss. But they really need to give justice to their main vocal, liz. And gaeul shouldn’t sing at all, let her rap or just say a word will do.

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  22. it’s a fun dance track! it took a while for it to grow on me because of the chorus, but i think this track is best appreciated when you’re just dancing or having fun. i enjoyed the pre-chorus and hook, hmm i just wish the pacing was slightly slowed so the song would sink in more easily? in terms of production and impact, i like love dive more, but this is still strong enough to be one of my favorite releases this august!

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    • just listened to my satisfaction and woah… might be one of my favorite bsides from this month? it has an interesting and dynamic back track paired with a nicely familiar but impactful melody. hopefully starship ent. gives ive a mini or full album soon because their bsides have been great so far 🙌

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